About Time: 8 Tips To Close The Gap For Equal Pay Day
When is 20 percent off not a good thing?
When it is applied to every working woman in America who makes on average 20 percent less than a man in the same position.
Equal Pay Day is a painful reminder every year that it takes until April 10 for a woman to earn the same as a man earns for a year of work by December 31. And for women of color, it takes even longer – four months longer–to make that same amount.
“It’s 2018, yet the gender wage gap persists, driving poverty and economic insecurity for women in Buffalo and across the nation,” Sara Alcid, Buffalo-based Campaign Director at MomsRising, tells Buffalo Rising.
“Sexism, racism, and transphobia collide in the fact that the wage gap is much worse for women of color, moms, and LGBTQ folks. This Equal Pay Day, we’re calling on the New York State Legislature to pass New York’s Salary History Legislation as well as other policies that help close the wage gap, like affordable childcare and paid sick days,” Alcid says.
“According to 2016 U.S. Census data, Asian-American women fare the best, earning $0.87 for every $1 that a white man takes home. White women earn $0.79 on the dollar, while African-American women take home just $0.63. Native American women earn $0.57, while Latinas fare the worst, taking home just $0.54 for every white male dollar,” In Style reports.
So what can you do to try to close a pay gap in your own career and in your company? Here are 8 specific steps to take.
Don’t base your next salary on your past salary. “Knowing the pay gap negatively impacts women, families, business and the nation’s economy, one way to fight back is to stop a hiring practice that perpetuates the salary gap. Relying on salary and benefit history to set future salary assumes that prior pay was fairly established in the first place. For a worker who was underpaid at her last job, using that salary to determine her next paycheck only sustains that pay gap. Women who are coming back to the workplace are really at a disadvantage,” writes Jennifer Kern in Rutland Herald.
Do research on what the specific position pays around the country and in your region. Payscale can help you find out what you are worth, and for hiring teams, can help retain the best talent. According to their 2018 report surveying more than 2 million workers, Payscale finds, “Over the course of their career, men move into higher level roles at significantly higher rates than women. By mid-career (age range 30-44), men are 70 percent more likely to be in VP or C-suite roles than women. By late career (age 45+), men are more 142 percent more likely to be in these higher paying roles.”
Where you start is super important. Go high, even if they go low. You are likely to never catch up from your starting salary, even if a raise is promised in a short period of time. “Give the number first. Make it high as hell because then you can’t be low-balled … Do the work. Don’t just call a number out of the sky. Know the range and then exceed the range because then you can negotiate down just a little bit,” Bozoma Saint John, Chief Brand Officer of Uber, told CBS News.
Get a referral from inside the company where you are hired—if possible. Payscalereports that in a 2017 survey of 53,000 workers, “employee referrals benefit men far more than women. We also found that a typical man can expect a referral to lead to a greater salary increase than a typical woman. When holding all else constant, women of any race are much less likely to receive referrals than their white male counterparts. White women are 12 percent less likely, and women of color are 35 percent less likely to receive a referral. On the pay front, we found that when one is referred by a business contact, our statistical analysis showed that while men can expect a referral to lead to a $8,200 salary increase, a typical woman should only expect a $3,700 salary increase.”
Ask for a raise. “Conversations about pay invariably involve discussion about performance and your future role within an organization. If they agree to pay you more, will you be a worthwhile investment? If you want to stay with your current employer, what promotion or future career path do you have your eye on? If you don’t know, don’t expect someone to think of one for you — make a plan. When you have a plan, tell people about it,” writes Clear Barrett in Financial Times.
Give good reasons why you deserve more money. Liz Ryan writes in Forbes, that these reasons include: “1. Because you’ve taken on a massive new responsibility that was not in your original job description. 2. Because you’ve already saved the company a ton of money somehow or helped them generate new revenue. 3. Because you’ve taken on a leadership role that was not in your original scope of work.”
Pick a city where women are paid more. According to Robin Madell at FlexJobs, a new Hired study, “The State of Wage Inequality in the Workplace,” reveals “the pay gap lessens in certain parts of the country and world. Some U.S. cities do slightly better than others, with women faring the best in the San Francisco Bay Area, which only has an 8 percent pay gap compared with 11 percent in Seattle and 10 percent in New York and Los Angeles.”
Contact your local Congressional representative about salary history bills in your state. “As bills are passed banning this practice, it is ensuring that employers pay employees for the job they have to do. California, Delaware, Oregon and Puerto Rico have passed bills to prohibit employers from using a job applicant’s salary history and benefits during the hiring process. Dozens of other states have introduced similar legislation, including Vermont,” according to the BBC.
The good news on Equal Pay Day and throughout the year is that in some key occupations, women’s median earnings were highest compared to men, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
FlexJobs cross-referenced those job titles with positions in its database and found women who work as teaching assistants make 105 percent of the salaries paid to their male counterparts. A female counselor earns 102 percent of the median salary paid to her male counterpart working as a counselor. And in the positions of transportation, storage and distribution managers, at the supervisor level category, male and female managers are paid the same.